To the House of Representatives:
I have the honor to return herewith without my approval House bill No. 3367, entitled "'An act to remove the charge of desertion from the military record of Alfred Rouland."
The reasons for withholding my signature may be found in the accompanying report received from the Secretary of War.
U. S. GRANT.
Washington City, February 8, 1877.
SIR: I have the honor to return House bill 3367, "to remove the charge of desertion from the military record of Alfred Rouland," and inclose copy of the report of the Adjutant-General, dated the 8th instant, who recommends that the bill be not approved.
In this connection I would invite attention to reports of the Military Committees of the House and Senate (House Report No. 461, Forty-fourth Congress, first session; Senate Report No. 578, Forty-fourth Congress, second session) in the case, of which copies are herewith.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. D. CAMERON,
Secretary of War .
Adjutant-General's Office, February 8, 1877.
Respectfully returned to the Secretary of War.
This man is reported on the muster-out roll of his company as having" deserted at Wilmington, N. C., April 16, 1866."
In his petition of December 28, 1874, on file in this office, occurs the following language:
"I was transferred to the Twenty-eighth Michigan Volunteers, and performed duty with that regiment from the 28th June, 1865, until the 16th day of April, 1866, when, being in a reduced and weak condition from continued chills and fever, and being in great fear of smallpox, which had become very prevalent at Wilmington, N. C., where my company was then stationed, I left my command without leave and returned to Michigan." * * *
This man is consequently a deserter in fact, and should this bill, restoring to an honorable status an admitted deserter, become a law, it will defeat every end of military discipline and justice, besides working a great injustice to every soldier who served faithfully and honorably.
It is therefore strongly recommended that it be not approved.
E. D. TOWNSEND,
Ulysses S. Grant, Veto Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/203810